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For example, I want to say that I found a ball today. But "today" means action in present, am I right?

I've already searched the Internet and it seems the right way is this:

I found a ball today

But it seems wrong when I say "today" and "found" (I'm not using words like "earlier"). Maybe it's right to say:

I have found a ball today

And why can't I say

I find a ball today

Which way is right and why?

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4  
"today" means literally "within the current window of 24 hours starting at midnight". That includes past, present, and future. It is not wrong, as long as you found the ball in the past. –  tenfour Dec 16 '11 at 9:04
1  
Canonical example of today with simple past: "I read the news today, oh boy..." –  Daniel Roseman Dec 16 '11 at 12:36

1 Answer 1

up vote 10 down vote accepted

If I found a ball in the morning, I might say in the afternoon I found a ball today. The past tense locates an action at a specific time in the past, but today is a sufficiently prolonged period of time to allow the use of the past tense on the same day. I have found a ball today could occur, but only exceptionally, because the perfect construction is not normally used when the sentence contains a specific time reference.

I find a ball today would be found only rarely and then only in a hypothetical sentence such as: Let’s suppose I find a ball today.

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2  
Or in a context like, "I see the doctor today". –  tenfour Dec 16 '11 at 9:30
2  
@tenfour: Yes, the 'diary future'. –  Barrie England Dec 16 '11 at 9:39

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